Burna Boy, Wu-Lu, Katy J Pearson, Wormrot, mer
Hi, hope those of you who have had a long weekend enjoyed the holidays, hope you stay cool and hope you are ready for more new music after last week’s slower release schedule. This week has many great new ones, seven of which I highlight below and more that Bill talks about in Bill’s Indie Basement, including Party Dozen, Viagra Boys, Mush, Spiral Stairs (of sidewalks), and James Righton (by Klaxons).
On top of these include honorable mentions: Metric, Westside Gunn, Neil Young & Crazy Horse (released album from 2001), The Deslondes, Brent Faiyaz, Attia Taylor, Quinton Brock, Apollo Brown, The Slow Death, Try The Pie, Dead Tired (Alexisonfire), Kota The Friend, Ransom, Among Legends, Caterina Barbieri, Tyshawn Sorey, AJ Lambert, Delicate Steve, PACKS EP, Wet EP, Blood EP, FLO EP, SSGKobe EP and the Kid Cudi collection.
Read on for my choices. What is your favorite release this week?
Burna Boy – Dear, Damini
As much as we as music fans tend to put music into different categories based on sound or region or aesthetics, everything is usually more connected than it seems at first glance, and Burna Boy’s music is proof of this. Across his sixth album Dear, Damini, the Nigerian artist connects the dots between afrobeat, Jamaican reggae and dancehall, British hip hop, North American R&B, South and Central American reggaeton and more, and reminds you that the African musical diaspora is a constant moving circle. Included in the tour are guests from all of these musical communities; the album is booking songs by the legendary South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and in between there are songs with the British rapper J Hus, the Nigerian singer Victony, the dancehall pioneer Popcaan, the R&B singer Kehlani, the pop stars Khalid and Ed Sheeran, and reggaet star J Balvin. Some songs lean more towards one genre / region than another, but most of the time Burna Boy whirls it all together and comes up with immediately satisfying hymns in the process. It makes sense why people only refer to Burna Boy’s music as “Afro-fusion”, because it really is a great melting pot of musical styles that all have ties back to traditional African music, but even that description undersells a bit Dear, Damini do. Dear, Damini imagines a world where nothing fits nicely into any box, and where all forms of art, music and expression are in constant conversation with each other. “It has always been my vision to build a bridge between all black people in all parts of the world through music and performance,” he said recently. Billboard. “Music is the No. 1 messenger.”
Wu-Lu – Loggerhead
It is seven years since the British artist Wu-Lu released his debut album Gingaa mostly instrumental electronic album, and during that time he has expanded the sound and made greater use of his own voice over two EPs, before blowing everything out of the water with his new second album and Warp debut, Loggerhead. At this point, Wu-Lu (real name Miles Romans-Hopcraft) is totally post-genre; the album weaves between electronics, grime, punk, metal, industry, trip-hop, art pop and more, and Wu-Lu flares it all together in a completely organic way. Contributors include Lex Amor, Léa Sen, Asha, Amon and black midi drummer Morgan Simpson, who help expand Wu-Lu’s sonic universe even further than he does on his own. It’s an album that feels all-over-the-place and cohesive at the same time.
Katy J Pearson – The sound of the morning
British singer / songwriter Katy J Pearson was first half of the duo Ardyn before she went solo with her debut album from 2020 Return. That album quickly gained momentum, and now she is back with a new album The sound of the morning, co-produced by Ali Chant (who also worked on her debut) and Speedy Wundergrounds Dan Carey. It is her first release since she was in the spotlight of indie music, something she recorded on the album’s airy main single “Talk Over Town”, which she said is about “being Katy from Gloucester, but then being Katy J Pearson who is this buzzy new artist, “and who finds Katy pondering the realization that fame does not always bring happiness (” all this talk about the city makes me feel crazy “). Like that song, much of this album finds that Katy looks at some darker lyrical subjects while offering light, warm, and inviting music, and fulfills Kathy’s promise to “always strive for the bittersweetness of things.” The album goes through folk, heartland rock, jangle pop, danceable indie pop and more, and it always sounds soothing. “I want people to feel things about my music, but I do not want to inflict too much trauma on my listener,” she jokes, The sound of the morning is truly an album that will make you feel.
Katy has also made us a list of inspirations behind the album, and you can read it here.
Wormrot – Hyss
For over a decade, Singapore’s Wormrot has been one of the most trusted voices in grindcore. They have become less productive over the years, but when they fall, it is always worth it. Hyss is their first album in six years, and it is also their last with lead vocalist and co-founder Arif, which is bittersweet, but Arif is going out with a bang. Hyss continues to push Wormrot down the path of groundbreaking, innovative gates, staying true to the genre’s decades-old roots without feeling limited by its often strict rules. It is sharply produced in a way that shows the band’s razor-sharp musicianship without dampening their attack. It goes into straight-up punk (“When Talking Fails, It’s Time for Violence”), noise (“Hatred Transcending”), classic metal (“Seizures”), sludge (“Sea of Disease”) and towering post-metal (“Glass Shards”), all while remaining planted in grindcore. It does not feel like an exaggeration to say that this is one of the most refreshing that has been released this year.
Laura Veirs – Found light
Raven Marching Band Records
To quote Amy’s recipe: Laura Veirs’ latest album Found light sees her explore a newfound independence after the divorce in 2019 from her longtime producer and husband. To be sure, it’s not a divorce album. Laura tried to prove that her music could speak for itself, and that she had the ability to make a distinct sound without the collaborator she could no longer rely on. The resulting project, co-produced by Veirs and Shahzad Ismaily, is as raw and intimate as it is ambitious and experimental.
Laura has also made us a list of influences for the album; read it here.
Stop it – Unpleasant lifestyle EP
End It comes from the thriving hardcore scene that is Baltimore, the home of Turnstile (which they have opened for), Angel Du $ t / Trapped Under Ice (whose vocalist Justice Tripp is a guest on this new EP), and other current greats, and they recorded this new EP with local engineer Kevin Bernsten (Pianos Become the Teeth, Praise, Full of Hell, etc). They are clearly in good company, and they stand out from all peers with a refreshing atmosphere that does not really sound like anyone else in their scene. Unpleasant lifestyle has five proper songs and an intro track that has a sense of humor and a serious side, that are as aggressive as they are funny, as catchy as confrontational. And really driving things home is vocalist Akil Godsey, who has lots of charisma and an infectious delivery. In a genre that is all too often full of idol worshipers, End It stands out by being itself.
spit out – Boiling evil
It’s been a great time for death metal bands with a hardcore punk spirit, with bands like Undeath, Frozen Soul, 200 Stab Wounds and Sanguisugabogg who have all recently released deserving albums that fit that description. And out of the same murky swamp comes Connecticut’s Vomit Forth, whose debut album Boiling evil has just arrived via Century Media. It follows an EP from 2019 and a promo from 2021 on Maggot Stomp, the label that has been at the center of this current wave, and it was self-produced and then given to Power Trip partner Arthur Rizk to mix and master. Through its 10 proper songs, Vomit Forth bounces seamlessly between death metal, thrash and hardcore in old-school style, and they sound completely robbery all the time. The riffs are thick and rhythmic, and vocalist Kane Gelaznik matches them with a powerful growl that fits the mood perfectly, in addition to the occasional hardcore shout with a higher tone to shake up. If you like death metal that puts pure sonic attacks above everything else, you need Boiling evil in your life.
Read Bill’s Indie Basement for several new album reviews, including Party Dozen, Viagra Boys, Mush, Spiral Stairs (of sidewalks), and James Righton (by Klaxons).
Are you looking for newer releases? Browse the archive of notable releases or scroll down for previous weeks.
For even more metal, browse ‘Upcoming Releases’ each week on Invisible Oranges.
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